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Versions of history

Napoleon once said: What is history, but a fable agreed upon?’ Standard history books don’t tell the truth. What so often emerges is a collection of stories, written by those in power, designed to influence future generations with whatever they wanted us to believe. And too many voices are left out.

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Anachronisms

Posted May 01, 2016

The word anachronism is derived from the Greek word anachronous which means against time. The term refers to a person, thing or idea that exists outside its time in history, especially one that happened or existed later than the period being written about.

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Daydream believer

It’s vital the writer prepares their imagination before writing. If the imagination isn’t primed, the writer will spend their writing time staring into space, or chatting on social media, or doing other things.

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A foray into historical fiction

I love historical fiction. I love the way novels bring a period to life, in a way most academic scholars do not.

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The redrafting adventure

Redrafting a novel reflects a radical rethink of the narrative. It’s perfectly normal for a writer to have an early concept of their story and their characters. If everything is open to change, they wouldn’t be able to write a first draft. 

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The importance of emotion in narrative

As a writing mentor and manuscript assessor, I can often tell who has been to creative writing class. Apart from other telltale signs, these writers leave out emotion. They think they have to show it, not tell it. This is a tricky area.

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The writer’s vulnerability

One of the creative writing forms I teach is memoir, sometimes called life writing. The commonest issue writers of memoir face is vulnerability. They fear exposing themselves to the reader.

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Two writers discuss the opening sentence and hooking the reader

Ive finished my latest novel! Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I began my rewrites. Horror of horrors! A boring first paragraph stared me in the face.  I have to hand over the manuscript to my publisher in two weeks. How do I hook my reader with that first line?  

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Balances of power

Transfer refers to the shifts in power between a protagonist and their antagonist as each strives to get what they want.

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Two writers discuss back story

Back story is that part of a character’s history that explains why they do the things they do in the present of the novel. Back story, when used properly, deepens and enriches a character and our understanding of them.

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